People are questioning Israel’s decision to deny Lara Alqasem entry into Israel (“Sign Of Strength, Or Insecurity?”). The real question should be why she wants to come to Israel, since she considers Israel an apartheid state oppressing Palestinians. She calls for boycotting Israel and for “justice” for Palestine.
Did African Americans or any Americans attempt to enter South Africa to study, when it was legitimately viewed as an apartheid state?
Some commentators, like Bret Stephens of The New York Times, think seeing Israel would educate her and change her views. [Stephens made those comments at a recent Jewish Week forum with author Tal Keinan at Park Avenue Synagogue.] If learning about Israel or Jews would change anti-Semites, anti-Semitism would have died off a thousand years ago. Alqasem, like Stephens’ co-workers at The Times, Roger Cohen, Thomas Friedman and Nicholas Kristof, see what they want to see. They seek out those with stories about the bad Israeli who has deprived the innocent Palestinian. Ideologues and propagandists manipulate facts (or invent them) to forward their bigotry. Tell a sympathetic story against Jews and the world will believe you.
No one heard of Alqasem before trying to enter Israel. Deny her entry and she will be forgotten. She wants entry, so she has a platform to create more images of the “bad” Israeli to go along with images many already have of the “bad” Jew. After all, they are the same.
Send her instead to Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Syria, Libya, Iran, Iraq or a thousand other places to learn about real oppression, real denial of human rights, women’s rights and gay rights. It won’t change her bigotry, but she will learn a lot about Islam in the real world.
Silver Spring, Md.